Bob Dylan and Grace Vanderwaal: A connection?

Bob Dylan’s voice was different. He sang his music on his own terms and as a direct result, his songs were driven by the lyrics of his music rather than the melody or timbre of his voice. The political sharpness of his poetic words would certainly shape music for many generations to come. I see many parallels between his style and that of Grace VanderWaal, the 12-year-old singer-songwriter who won the eleventh season of America’s Got Talent. She went on to tour with Imagine Dragons in 2018 and later became the youngest person ever to be included in the Forbes “30 Under 30 Music List”.

Throughout her time on America’s Got Talent in 2016, she captured the nation with her original lyrics, distinctive vocals and her ukulele. While still young (again, 12 years old!), she channels Dylan with her powerful ability to speak to the world and brings her own style to music that might be difficult to understand for some. Grace also touches upon social issues with her music. In the finals of AGT, she played her original “Clay”, which deals with bullying. She uses clay as a metaphor for being malleable and concludes the song with an energetic “I’m not clay”. Note her unique voice!

Grace VanderWaal – Clay (Lyric)

Her (first) claim to fame was probably her original, “I Don’t Know My Name”, which she sang at her audition. It explores the issue of self-identity. She is “trying to find her way” even though she isn’t the type of person who can “play by the rules of the game”. This song is further evidence of her different voice and unique lyrics.

Grace VanderWaal – I Don’t Know My Name (Lyric)

A historic evening with Anne Frank’s stepsister: Eva Schloss (At the University of Minnesota)

Eva’s life started in 1929 in a very happy, loving Jewish family in Vienna. Her brother, Heinz, was three years older and was a reader, musician, and painter. As a six year old, he would read out books and tell Eva the stories. At school, Eva noted that although jews and catholics were allowed to be friends, they were separated during their respective religion classes. Fast forward a few years to 1938, and Nazi Germany annexed Austria. Nine year old Eva was shocked by the sudden display of Swastikas on the streets by her friends. She also noted that her best friend’s mother(who was catholic)  slammed a door in her face one day and told her to never come back to their house. Eva’s father, Erich decided to move his family to Belgium at this time. Since they were not allowed any furniture, they bought a pre-furnished house in Brussels. The furniture included a piano and this naturally delighted Heinz. After two great years in Belgium, the family was forced to emigrate to Amsterdam. This is where eleven year old Eva met an eleven year old Anne Frank, who came up to meet Eva with a sweet hello. Eva and Anne would spend time together every day. Anne hated Math, but really enjoyed talking. She would often be made to write “I will not talk in class” a 100 times after class. In Eva’s mind, Anne was far more mature than she was. Being very interested in boys, Anne wanted to go to Eva’s house to meet Heinz. Sadly, Heinz was not interested in a girl his sister’s age.

1940-42 were good years for Eva. Although they were restrictive(Jews had to go to different shops, travel separately), there was not any significant danger. In 1942, both Heinz and Margot(Anne’s elder sister) were summoned to Germany to work. Not trusting this summoning, both Erich and Otto Frank(Anne’s father) took their families into hiding. Sadly, Erich could not find a place for the family of four, so Heinz went with his father, and Eva went with her mother. Eva was a ‘sporty girl’, and hence had a tough time in hiding sitting in the same place. Erich and Heinz had to move around as they couldn’t keep up with the rent, but eventually found a place near Eva and Elfriede(Eva’s mother). On Eva’s 15th birthday, in the May of 1944, as the entire family had met up to celebrate, Nazi soldiers burst into the house and captured the family. Eva was interrogated and brutally beaten by the Nazi soldiers. However, she was in much too much shock to say anything.

The family eventually was sent to Auschwitz by train. Eva recalls that this train journey was the last time her family was together. On reaching the camp they immediately were separated, Eva and her mother were separated from her father and brother. They were made to strip naked, shaved, and given striped clothes with shoes and a number. Eva couldnt believe how cruelly the Nazi soldiers would mistreat the women without reason. Eva describes many miracles leading to her surviving, including how running into an old friend saved her from dying from typhus. She had to live in sub human conditions for almost six months before the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. She did meet her father a couple of times before the liberation. For a while, she believed her mother to be dead, but she later learnt her mother had escaped the gas chamber miraculously.

Eva would go on to learn of the death of her brother and father after liberation, which led her to spiral into depression for many years to come. Eventually, she would meet her husband for 63 years, Zvi Schloss in London. Her mother and Otto Frank fell in love and got married in 1953. Eva recalls the first time she saw Anne’s diary. Otto brought the diary to show to Eva and Elfriede and would burst into tears on reading it. He took three weeks to read it, and eventually published a first hand account of the most horrific genocide of all time, from the perspective of precocious teenage girl.

Eva now has three children and five grandchildren. She leaves audiences shocked by relating the atrocities endured by her family during the Holocaust and inspires them with her faith in humanity. She is not just a survivor, but also a victor of the Holocaust.

WhatsApp Image 2019-10-27 at 9.20.25 PM

Talk by Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar

I attended a talk by Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar at Pune University recently on the occasion of the 30th foundation day for NCCS(National Centre for Cell Sciences). “From Incremental to Disruptive Game Changing Innovation” was the topic of his talk, and I learned a lot from the talk; what innovation is, and what disruptive innovation is as compared to incremental innovation.

After the talk, I got an opportunity to take a picture with Dr Mashelkar.


Meeting Bhaichung Bhutia

On the 3rd of October, 2009, I got the opportunity to meet a footballing legend, Bhaichung Bhutia. My soccer coach, Coach Vinay took our team, UPSA(United Poona Sports Academy) to meet him. It was an honour to meet him.

Photo with Bhutia


Thats me in the front row with the specs!

10th Standard Farewell Speech

The journey ahead beckons – fare well!

By Siddharth Premnath, Class X-H


“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Good Morning to one and all present here. My name is Siddharth Premnath from 10th H and today; I stand in front of you to thank you all for being part of my life’s journey, and wish you all the best in life.

I want to start off with how I got here. In the September of 2003, my parents and me left India and went to UK. This was because my mother was completing her post doctorate there. After a lovely year at Cambridge, we returned to India in the September of 2004. My parents were looking for a CBSE school and hence, I joined DAV Public School, Pune. Little did I know that day would change my life for years to come.

DAV Pune was established in the year 2003. I literally grew up as the school grew up. Slowly, year after year, I went up, standard by standard. These years truly were some of the most glorious days of my life. DAV was my home for 6 hours a day. The passionate teachers and the exuberant students enriched my school life to extents that I didn’t know were even possible. Now, standing here, I feel like I truly appreciate the value of school life.

“I like the feeling of finding it difficult to say goodbye because it only means I have found a true friend.”

Over the years, we have had so many different kinds of friends. The bully, the teacher’s pet, the know it all, the class clown, the lost one, the borrower, the gossip and that one friend who laughs funnier than he jokes… We have all had them and we have all cherished our memories with them. These friends have been constants. They have always had our backs and have never let us down.

All of us will also always remember our amazing teachers who imparted invaluable experiences and knowledge that we will remember and relish for eternity. On behalf of all of my friends, I would like to thank all those teachers who always corrected us and never gave up on us.

Now, I want to speak about finding your passion and place in this world. I am sure some of us have no idea what we want to do after say, passing out of college. I don’t myself. But, to make a difference in this world, it is essential that you do what you love. Don’t just do something because someone tells you that it’s prestigious or that it pays a lot. Do something because you love it and you want to make a difference in this world doing it.

The best way to find your passion is this: Imagine you had only 1 year left to live, and you could do whatever you wanted. You were also guaranteed to be successful at whatever you did. What would you do?

10th standard has been a turning point for all of us. As we complete school life, we all start a new chapter in our lives.


Chandrashila Chopta: A Learning Experience

It all started a few weeks ago when a good friend of my family told me that I should go for a trip with the Pune based tour company, ‘Foliage’ this summer after my 10th standard board exams. Well, I had heard of the company before from friends but had never really gone for a trip with them on my own. After some mild reluctance in the beginning, I agreed to go on a trek to Chandrashila Chopta with Foliage from the 19th to the 25th of April 2017.


Day 1(19/04):

Well, the trek started out pretty awkwardly for me at the Pune Airport. It looked to me like I was the only person travelling alone amongst the 38 people coming on the trek. After reporting at the airport at 6 pm, two groups were formed, one flying to Delhi by an Indigo flight, and the other by a GoAir flight, of which I was to take the latter.

Time passed by, and before I knew it, I was waiting for my flight, eating biscuits and awkwardly trying to make new friends around 8:30 pm. We took off around 9:30 and landed in the capital of India by 12 in the night.


Day 2(20/04):

All of us collected our luggage and waited outside Delhi airport for about an hour. At 1:20 in the morning, we climbed into an overnight bus that would take us to Haridwar. After a bumpy bus-nap, we reached Haridwar by 6:40 am and switched to 2 smaller buses to navigate the steep and narrow bends leading up the mountains. All of us had breakfast at the Rishikesh campsite at 9 am. Here, at Rishikesh, we played a quick introduction game and left for the Jayalgarh campsite where we had our lunch at 1 pm. After encountering a mini landslide that blocked the road, extreme heat, irritating flies, stomach lurching turns, beautiful landscapes, disappointing naps and new friends, us ‘ Foliagers’ finally reached the Chopta campsite in the Rudraprayag district of Garhwal, Uttarakhand by 6 pm.

This campsite, surrounded by the Himalayas was stunningly beautiful with no phone network or electricity. Here, we had some snacks after which we were allowed to check out our simple 4-person tents. Having come alone, finding a tent-mate was awkward, but I managed to find some newly found friends to live with. In the night, we had our dinner where we were briefed about the campsite and the next day’s trek. After this, we slept for the night in our cozy sleeping bags..


Day 3(21/04):

Today, we were trekking to the Lake of the Legends, Deorital at 7000 feet. The ‘Foliagers’ awoke by 6 am, and after breakfast, we left for the base of the climb. This was a training trek to prepare for the Chandrashila trek coming up the next day. We had to find our own way by asking the locals there. We reached the heavenly lake in about 2 hours after taking regular breaks with our teams, which were made by the instructors. Deorital was just angelic. The view of Chaukhamba peak from there was exquisite and my mind felt at peace at 7000 feet. Here, at Deorital, we spent 2 ½ hours and had lunch, took photos, chatted and played a game.

Around 12 noon, we stared descending from the lake. Luckily/Unluckily for us, we were caught in a painful but never-before seen beautiful hailstorm. Occasional mules walking up and down and blocking the way were very entertaining to dodge and deal with. After returning back to our campsite, we played a fun game of volleyball succeeding which I realized how little I knew about the sport. Subsequently, all of us enjoyed some tea and then collected firewood for a campfire that was to be held the next day. A bright orange sunset and a game of dodge ball greeted us before dinner at the KPRD (khana-peena-rona-dhona), which was the common eating and meeting place. We were also briefed about the next day’s trek to Chandrashila. Personally, this common tent was where I got to speak to new friends. After washing up, we slept for the night in our cozy sleeping bags.


Day 4(22/04):

22nd April was a big day for us. We were about to scale Chandrashila, which is located at a height of 13000 feet. All of us left at 6:20 am and drove to the base of Chandrashila. All excited and pumped up, we all started the trek to Tungnath, which is the highest Shiva temple in the world. This temple is en route Chandrashila at 9000 feet. On the way there, we saw several Monals(state bird of Uttarakhand) and many Rhododendron trees. By noon, we reached Tungnath, and after lunch we started for Chandrashila. Soon, we reached Chandrashila and witnessed a 360-degree view of the snow-covered Himalayas. From here, we could see Nanda Devi at 25,600 feet, which is the 3rd tallest mountain in India. After spending an hour at Chandrashila, we started descending pretty quickly and came back down by 4 pm. After returning to the Chopta campsite, we all drank tea and had Maggie. A fun evening with multiple games of volleyball followed. As it became darker, we had soup and dinner. We were all excited for the campfire that ensued where multiple friends displayed their singing and dancing talents. I was sad because it was our last night at the Chopta campsite. Moreover, a friend of mine hadn’t been able to climb to Chandrashila because of a bad stomach. After the instructors briefed us about the next day’s program, we slept for the night in our cozy sleeping bags.


Day 5(23/04):

We got our wakeup call later today, around 7. After a sluggish and relaxed breakfast and washing up session, we left Chopta and reached Jayalgarh in 3-4 hours. The campsite at Jayalgarh was fancier then Chopta with electricity and private toilets. Here, we had lunch and then left for White Water Rafting on the river Alaknanda. On the banks of the river, we were given instructions regarding rafting and then were made into 5 teams. Along the river, we rafted for 8 kms as a team. As and when told by the instructors, we even got to jump into the freezing cold water of the river. We reached a sandy mini-beach in an hour where we engaged in kayaking and ducky boating (basically, a ducky boat is a two person kayak where the passenger is asked to jump off the boat in the middle of the river and swim back). After these water sports, we came back to our tents in Jayalgarh around 6:30 pm. Tired and wet; we had our bath followed by tea and pakodas.

While enjoying the beautiful scenery around Jayalgarh, I sat and chatted with friends till dinner. After dinner, all of us danced to some music and heard a vividly entertaining leopard story from one of our most experienced instrutors. I went to sleep at 11.


Day 6(24/04):

Although there was no wakeup call today, my naturally acclimated body awoke at 6:15, 2 hours before breakfast. After, enjoying the beautiful scenery alone for half an hour, I found some friends and we played throwball for a while to pass time. Today, we were going to encounter the much-awaited Bridge Slithering, a hair-raising water activity. In this sport, one is tethered to a 55 feet tall bridge and is gradually let down before being dropped into the river from 10 feet. One by one, all of us completed this fun activity and returned to our tents.

After lunch, we had a certificate distribution and camp farewell session.

We bid a farewell to Jayalgarh after this and started our return journey to Haridwar by 2. After a 3-hour long journey, we stopped at the Rishikesh campsite for snacks. Soon, we reached Haridwar and switched back to our AC overnight bus to travel back to Delhi. After another bumpy 4-hour nap, we reached Delhi airport at 3 in the morning.

Here, all of us waited outside the airport for 2 hours along with some interesting wildlife, i.e., crazy dogs and bloodthirsty mosquitoes. While walking around the outside the airport, I noticed a decent pizza place and immediately got a pizza from there. As luck would have it, 15 minutes after I bought the pizza, we were given packed breakfast by Foliage which I stored in my bag. By 6, we all walked into the airport and started the check in. At 8: 10, we boarded the flight and soon, departed from Delhi. We reached Pune at 11:30 pm and then, harboring mixed emotions, bid adieu to our new friends and returned to our familiar homes carrying a bag full of memories.


Overall, all the experienced instructors on the treks inspired me. These beautiful campsites pulled us city kids out of the digital dream and taught us the importance of looking outside and taking in the breathtaking scenery. I would like to thank Foliage and its entertaining and experienced volunteers for lifting the mood and taking care of all of us. After attending this trek alone, I can safely say I made better friends than I would have if I had gone with my friends. As one of the Foliage volunteers said,” We went in different groups, but we are coming back as one family”, I went as a loner, but came back with a family.

View from Chandrashila        Nanda Devi

F.R.I.E.N.D.S: A Sitcom To Remember

Who doesn’t love those six happy, friendly, good looking people who make our day? Who doesn’t love that familiar theme song and the dance around the fountain?Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross are great friends and make us wish they were our friends. The plot revolves around these six singles in their 20s. They make mistakes, have relationships, play pranks and hang out together. Most of the time, they can be seen either at the coffee house, Central Perk, or at Monica’s house. Monica’s cooking jobs, Joey’s failing acting career and Ross’s love of palaeontology leaves us in splits. But, Ross and Rachel’s dramatic relationship is definitely one of the main storylines and one that we love.

This show’s first episode aired on  September 22, 1994 and after this, the show reached new heights. Through the course of this phenomenal sitcom, Charlie Sheen, Robin Williams and Brad Pitt are just some of the famous guest stars on “F.R.I.E.N.D.S”. The finale aired on May 6, 2004 and in the U.S., 52.5 million viewers watched it, making it the most watched entertainment telecast since the “Seinfeld” finale in 1998. 

“F.R.I.E.N.D.S” has become one of the most popular TV shows and definitely will continue to be. The show was produced by Bright/ Kauffman/ Crane productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. I salute Jennifer Aniston(Rachel), Courtney Cox Arquette(Monica), Lisa Kudrow(Phoebe), Matt LeBlanc(Joey), Matthew Perry(Chandler) and David Schwimmer(Ross), the main cast and funnily, great friends.


Money-Is It Really Important?

Nights are sleepless for me. I’ve never felt that sleeplessness before. That ‘beneficial deal’ was more like a curse for me. I await tomorrow as it’s the end…the end…It all started about a month back. I was a happy go lucky vagabond with not much of what most would call riches. But, what I did have was friendship, not just a normal friendship, but friendship with the country’s richest man, Dr. James Clifford. How he, a man with a double-doctorate, and me, a 10th grade failure became friends…don’t even ask. Anyway, he offered to satisfy my every need but me, the modest devil I was, was too embarrassed to take his money. Secretly, I was always jealous of his money and craved to be like him. I walked around aimlessly, while James walked around the Rashtrapati Bhavan hand in hand with the President of India. I got dirty looks shot my way with razor sharp daggers in them while he got respected looks his way. I returned to my tiny aluminum roofed house with god knows how many people in it and he stayed in a 8 BHK house with 13 people in it. People actually considered him modest when he told him that he stayed in a 8 BHK bungalow. My kids swam with lazy kids up to no good in the lake nearby while his swam in a private pool with prodigies. I was fed up with my dumb life and I gave up on it. I finally decided to approach James and ask him for a financial favor. After a little ‘chat’ with the guards and around 51 more people, I finally got to have a private meeting with James. James, the amazing guy he is, welcomed me warmly. I was honored. Then after he ordered all the guard’s to leave, to my surprise, he started sobbing. After 4 long minutes of consolation, I figured out that he was suffering from stress and was fed up with all his money. I thanked god silently and snatched the opportunity. We struck a deal and decided we would swap places for exactly a month. This deal would be into action tomorrow. I ran home jubilantly and we packed everything up. It was time for a new life, or so I thought.
After completely settling in into the new manor, I checked “my” calendar(given by James). I almost fainted… I had no time to watch ‘The Flash’ or play ‘GTA 5’ or buy that new XBOX 360 from Amazon. I hoped everyday would be better than the last but it was the same story every single day. Meeting-Lunch with guests-Meeting-Travel to Bombay-Meeting-Dinner with guests-Meeting-Sleep.I couldn’t couldn’t even talk to my family. But, the worst part was that I couldn’t sleep at night. Security was too big an issue. What if someone murdered me? What if a thief took all my money? What if…the possibilities were endless. For the first time in my life, I really started to wonder…is it really worth it? I still await tomorrow as the last day of the deal.
This story is a classic in the pages of thought. It really does get you thinking. “Money, you’re sorry if you have it and you’re sorry if you don’t.”

Football tournament in Bangalore

Tournament Day 2:

The next day was another very exciting day for us and we left the stadium in high spirits. Our first match of the knockouts was a round of 32 match against a team called Bees. We won this match 3-1. Some fantastic goals were scored by us in this match. After some time, we played another match against Parappur FC, who we tied 0-0 in the match. Sadly, we lost 3-2 in the penalties. As we got knocked out, we had lunch at a nearby restaurant and then came back to the stadium. We then watched some of the remaining matches, namely the semi finals and the finals. The finals was won by Kodagu Academy also incidentally in the penalties. We got the Most Disciplined Team award in the prize distribution ceremony. After that we came back to our hotel and washed up quickly. Next, we quickly left for the airport at 6 and reached Pune at 10.

This trip was in many ways one of the greatest trips I’ve ever had. It was lots of fun and I also learnt a lot of team dynamics like teamwork and sharing.

Football tournament in Bangalore

Tournament Day 1

Today, I woke up with a thought, a thought about a stadium, a thought about Bangalore, a thought that took me about 8 months back.

It was the 9th of September, and for the first time, I was feeling energetic on a Friday afternoon. After a meal and a quick wash-up, I left for my coach’s house. We were about to take part in the All India U-15 football tournament in Bangalore at the Kantirava stadium. At our coach’s house, we had a short photography session and then left for Pune airport in two cars. After reaching, we all got a banana, a samosa and an appy. After entering the airport, we were introduced to our coach’s old student: Akshay, who now worked as a ‘groundsman’ at the airport. After some introduction’s, we went through security check and waited for our flight at gate no.8. At around 6:45 pm, we left Pune and reached Bangalore at around 9. We then travelled to our hotel, ‘Hotel Geo’ in a private bus. After reaching, we had a short meal and then dozed off.

Next morning, I woke up knowing it was an exciting day for all of us. We woke up, washed up, had breakfast and left for the stadium. That day’s scores were:

UPSA (A) V Boka Juniors B [1-1]

UPSA (A) V K.V Goa [3-0]

UPSA (A) V Jinki Maria [10-0]

UPSA (B) V E.K. Sports [0-3]

UPSA (B) V Trio [1-3]

UPSA (B) V Kovalam FC Blue [1-4]

UPSA A qualified for the knockouts. We walked back to Hotel Geo and washed up. Following that, we had dinner and went to sleep at around 9:30.



By Siddharth Premnath for morning assembly on 1 Sep 2015 in DAV Public School, Pune.


The pleasures of friendship are exquisite,

How pleasant to go to a friend on a visit!

I go to my friend, we walk on the grass,

And the hours and moments like minutes pass.

This is how the British poet Stevie Smith describes Friendship in her poem “Pleasures of Friendships”.

Good morning, my dear Friends! I am Siddharth Premnath and let us celebrate the spirit of friendship today.

Friendship is, undoubtedly the greatest gifts you can ever get. It is a relationship of mutual trust and affection between two or more people. We trust our friends, we rely on them, we love them and we enjoy their company! Helen Keller’s quote captures this sentiment well. “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

Friendships come in different flavors, and are forged in different contexts. During childhood, friendship is based on the sharing of toys and from the enjoyment received from performing activities together. During adolescence, friends form your peer group and influence your thinking. Adulthood’s important life events such as marriage, parenthood and career development both forge friendships and also complicate old ones. During old age, as family responsibilities fade away, companionship and friendships become more and more important. In every stage of your life, your friends shape your life just as your family does. As Jess Scott has said, “Friends are the family you choose”.

Friendship has a way of keeping you happy, healthy, hopeful and honest! Studies have shown that friendships enhance an individual’s sense of happiness. Along with happiness comes, good health. Having the support of your friends’ gives you greater confidence and lets you venture out trusting that help is near by. And of course, good friends keep you honest. As George Herbert has said –“The best mirror is an old friend.

Building strong friendships often requires your conscious efforts. In Aristotle’s words- “Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.” You have to put efforts into building friendships and you cannot rush it! Once in a while, you might get into a fight or an argument with a good friend of yours. But remember, a true and good friendship is judged by how you OVERCOME these problems.

Dear Friends, I wish all of you many great friendships in your life! “A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.” (Maya Angelou)

Thank you!

Srinivas Ramanujam: Life and legacy

Srinivas Ramanujam: Life and legacy

By Siddharth Premnath

Speech prepared for assembly on 22nd December 2015 at DAV Public School, Pune, India.

Today is 22nd December-National Mathematics Day and the birthday of Srinivas Ramanujam, the great Indian mathematician. Let us remember his life and legacy on this day in honor of him.

Good Morning everyone! I am Siddharth Premnath of class 9th H and today, I am here to speak about the life of Ramanujam and the lessons learnt from it.

Ramanujam’s life-story is one of passionate pursuit of knowledge and excellence in very difficult circumstances. His short but inspiring life has shaped and influenced several generations of Indians.

Ramanujam, one of the greatest mathematicians India has ever had was born on 22 December 1887 in Erode, Madras Presidency (now part of Tamil Nadu). His life had a humble beginning with his father being a clerk at a sari shop and his mother being a singer in a local temple. His school education was full of ups and downs — with several transfers and teaching medium changes. But maths was his constant friend. He learnt from college students who came to stay in his house. He mastered Loney’s Trignometry on his own by age 13.

A book, which he received when he was 16, changed his life completely. The book was named ‘A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics’. This book contained a lot of theorems but didn’t have any proofs. So, he sat and proved every single one of the theorems on a slate with a chalk (he could not afford notebooks). He used his elbow to erase the board, which bruised his elbow a lot.

After his schooling, his journey through college was tumultuous. Ramanujam never got a degree from college. He decided to continue independent research in mathematics while eking out a living as a clerk. He lived in extreme poverty and was close to starvation. But fortunately for him, his talent was recognized and he went on to make extra-ordinary contributions in Number Theory and other fields. In a short life of 32 years, he compiled 3900 results – several of which were proven after his death!

Ramanujam’s life also has interesting lessons for all of us as students and the education system we are all part of. The lessons include: a) the importance of passionately pursuing your interests and achieve excellence, b) building excellence often requires deep focus, c) people who are pursuing excellence may not perform as well as all rounders’ but it will be to our detriment if we ignore such “stars”, d) when people reach a peak of excellence, their thoughts seem to form almost effortlessly and intuitively — something we in common words call “genius”. Let me illustrate this with examples.

When Ramanujam was about 10 years old, he did very well in his exams and came first in his district. But, his intermediate was a different story altogether as Ramanujam appeared for his Intermediate four times and failed in all of them. During his First Examination in Arts of 1907, Ramanujam failed in English and Sanskrit and didn’t turn up for his Physiology and History exams. But in Math, he got 85/150. Apparently, he only solved the problems he liked.

Eventually, Ramanujam started publishing articles in the Journal of Indian Mathematician Society where he asked questions on number theory, the branch of mathematics he loved. Number Theory is that branch of Mathematics, which deals with natural numbers and integers.

With the help of some friends, Ramanujam started drafting letters to leading mathematicians at the Cambridge University. His first two letters were not replied to. But, with his third letter, he found Hardy. G.H Hardy was a British mathematician known for his achievements in number theory and mathematical analysis. Hardy wrote back to Ramanujam and invited him to Cambridge .He realized Ramanujam’s brilliance and became Ramanujam’s mentor in 1914. On the 17th of March 1914, Ramanujam departed from Chennai for Cambridge. It was in Cambridge that Ramanujam’s talent could bloom fully. And be recognized. Hardy once said about Ramanujam, “Suppose we rate mathematicians on the basis of pure talent on a scale from 0 to 100, I give myself a score of 25, Littlewood 30, Hilbert 80 and Ramanujam 100.”

Ramanujam was honored with a degree from the University of Cambridge. He also became an elected member of the London Mathematical Society, Fellow of the Royal Society and Fellow of the Trinity College, Cambridge.

But most importantly, Ramanujam’s story is also about Mathematics! It is about the passion that mathematics has inspired in generations of mathematicians. As Johnathan David Farley has said, “You study mathematics because it is the poetry of the universe. Its beauty transcends mere things.” To Ramanujam, Mathematics was God incarnate. To quote Ramanujam: “Sir, an equation has no meaning for me unless it expresses a thought of GOD.” This also echoes the thoughts of Galileo who said: “Mathematics is the language with which God wrote the universe.” I hope this beautiful language of the universe also blesses us all with glimpses of its beauty — perhaps some of us will follow the path of Ramanujam while some others will cheer the strides of mathematicians.

Thank you.


In the summer of 2013, I had visited Singapore. To reach there, I had to wait at the Malaysian airport for a while, as there wasn’t a direct flight from India to Singapore. There, I saw some Malaysian kids skating around…. but they were skating in a weird way, with their toes pointing upwards. Then I realised that they weren’t skating but ‘heeling’ (as I came to know later). Now, what is heeling? Well it is basically skating with shoes with wheels known as Heelys.

Heelys are a brand of shoes that has one or more wheels embedded in each sole, similar to inline skates. Roger Adams invented Heelys in 1999. Airports, malls, marble floors, all are excellent for Heelys. Every single time I went anywhere by flight, I ‘heeled’ around the airport. Holding on to the trolley, resting on my parents shoulder, or just heeling on my own, all are great alternatives to walking

‘Heeling is almost like a sport. You need to practice it to master it. Well, I got the practice part easy; as my parents gifted me mine in Singapore. The roads are just amazing in Singapore. I could Heely even on the roads.

The disadvantage to Heelys is obviously: accidents. The injury rate while ‘heeling’ is approximately 51 injuries per 100,000 children. Another minor disadvantage is the slight pain in the legs because of pointing the toes upwards.

Me, I really enjoyed heeling when I did it. Recently, I gave it to one of my friends. Curious peoples asking me about it, shaking off the millions of stares or trying not to collide into things, all made me feel…joy.

Book Review-The Mystery of the Blue Train


“A smashing mix of mystery, romance and tragedy”


The Mystery of the Blue Train

Agatha Christie

Collins, 1928, Great Britain

385 pages


ISBN: 978-0-00-728260-9

Hercule Poirot, Christie’s loveable Belgian detective is back on the case. This time, love is in the air. Katherine Gray, one of the protagonist’s of this story has a chat with Ruth Kettering on the Blue Train…. But, little does she realise, that is the last time she would ever talk to Ruth again. When the train arrives at Nice, a guard attempts to wake Ruth from her sedate slumbers. Lamentably, she will never wake again as a heavy blow has killed her and marred her features beyond recognition.

For Poirot, no one is not suspected and everyone is suspected.’

The main character, Hercule Poirot, is a fictional detective created by Agatha Christie. His head is exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perches it a little on one side. His moustache is very stiff and military.

Katherine Gray, another protagonist is a calm, composed woman with stormy grey eyes. She helps Poirot solves the case and also has a few admirers. Katherine gives the aura of a kind, understanding woman and likes being her self.

Agatha Christie was born in a wealthy upper-middle class family in Devon, England in 1890. Towards the end of the First World War, she served as a VAD. During the First World War, she got her first book published, The Mysterious Affair at Styles featuring the character of Hercule Poirot. This launched her literary career. 1919 was a momentous year for Agatha. With the end of the war, Archie(Christie’s first husband) had found a job in the City and they had just enough money to rent and furnish a flat in London. Outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare, Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. She is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, as well as the world’s longest-running play – The Mousetrap .The Guinness Book of World Records lists Christie as one of the best selling novelist of all time, selling at about 2 billion copies After a hugely successful career and a very happy life Agatha died peacefully on 12 January 1976.

Christie’s sixth book a.k.a The Mystery Of The Blue Train is indubitably riveting and it’s hard for any reader to put the book down till the end. There is heavy suspicion on Ruth’s husband, Derek Kettering, who was on the same train but claims not to have seen Ruth. Katherine says she saw Derek enter Ruth’s compartment. As usual, Poirot is not convinced and believes that there is more to the case then what meets the eye. For Poirot, no one is not suspected and everyone is suspected.

I think the book is truly fascinating and enthralling. Nothing is better than a good potboiler to “calm” the nerves.


I suggest The Mystery of The Blue Train to everyone young or old. Also, I request you to please NOT ask anyone to spoil the plot for you as if you are patient enough, it will reap the rewards.

Impractical Jokers

Impractical Jokers is a reality hidden camera television show shot in New York City and New Jersey. The first episode appeared on TV on December 15 2011. It follows four lifelong friends, namely:

Joseph Gatto (Joe), Brian Quinn (Q), James Murray (Murr) and Salvatore Vulcano (Sal).

Joe is the oldest of them and my favorite joker. Q is an unruly chap with a ridiculous hairstyle. Murr is an overconfident scrawny guy. Sal is comparatively well mannered and is obsessed with cleanliness.


In the show, the guys challenge and embarrass each other with omnifarious dares in various public places. It is different from other comedy shows as here; the jokers do not know the details of the challenge/dare till the last minute. Before every dare, they introduce the place they are in and what the challenge is. The opening dialogues before each episode are (season 3 onwards):

Sal- Prepare for something amazing!

Q- Hey mustache, what’s up?

Murr- I want my mommy!

Sal- I will NEVER forgive you!

Joe- Larry!


For every completed challenge they get a thumbs up and a thumbs down for every failed one. At the end of the episode, the joker with the most thumbs down loses and has to take a punishment, which is decided by the rest of the jokers.


They play games such as asking for signatures, acting as workers in different restaurants and playing around with bullhorns. The punishments range from picking up poop to singing funny songs, explaining power point presentations to giving speeches and stealing to wearing embarrassing dresses.


The stats for the thumbs up, thumbs down and punishments for the jokers are:


Jokers Punishments Thumbs up Thumbs down
Joe 23 90 160
Murr 30 112 143
Q 23 90 161
Sal 32 105 151


The jokers got the top prize in NBC’s ‘Its Your Show’ sketch comedy contest. This show has also been received well by most critics.


I personally really enjoy watching the show. It is highly entertaining and is undoubtedly one of the wackiest and funniest T.V shows that have existed to this day. On the contrary, my mother doesn’t really approve of the show and although she finds it mildly amusing, she thinks it is ‘yucky’. My father pretends he doesn’t like it but he does enjoy it although he finds some challenges embarrassing.


Source(for stats and dates only):

Clash of Clans

Clash of Clans is an addictive mix of strategic building and face-paced combat. Released by Supercell in the July of 2015, it already has over 150 million downloads.

In this game, you play as a chief of a village, which you have to develop along with different people who have their own villages. Also, you can attack other players; but be careful, you can be attacked too. The fun factor of this game reaches a peak when you join a clan with other players and can chat, donate, war and do countless other things as a team.

Clash of clans is truly one of the greatest multiplayer games ever made.

One tip if you ever consider playing this game: The town hall is not the only thing you can upgrade. 🙂

Want some guidance on Youtube? Visit:

For the official clash website,

Summer Lessons in a Dentist’s Clinic

This summer was a pretty eventful summer for me. I got my first job experience in a dentist’s clinic this summer!

I was the “computer guy” at the clinic. I created reports from the clinic’s appointment calendar software. I pulled up x-ray images from one software and matched them up with the right patient in another software. The dentist helped me identify teeth on the image and I labelled them. I helped fix appointments. I also helped create lists in excel sheets and word files as needed. I came to know about how things function in a dental clinic.

There is a lot more going on at a dentist clinic then what initially meets the eye. Besides, checking-in people at the reception and dental treatment, there are lot of background activities that go on in a clinic — including cleaning and readying instruments, maintaining inventory, maintaining a store room of patient records and impressions, databases etc.

My job at the dentist’s clinic this summer was truly a wonderful one. I learnt a lot, experienced a lot and above all enjoyed a lot.

Please pen down on your thoughts below!


Alandi is a city in the state of Maharashtra which lies on the banks of the river Indrayani. A religious place, it is popular for being the location of the Samadhi of Sant Jynaneshwar. It is a famous place for pligrimage and people like to visit the Vitthala-rakhumai temple, Jynaneshwar’s wall, The Jyaneshwar Samadhi Complex and the Narsmiha Saraswati Swami Math.

Here, groundnut cultivation is very popular as this is a rural area and agriculture is one of the major occupations.

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My Trip to Diveagar

Recently, I visited Diveagar, a small village which is a 4 hour drive from Pune. We stayed in one of our friend’s cousin’s  house.

Day 1:

After leaving from Pune, we stopped at a restaurant called ‘Quick Bites’. After a long 4 hour ride, we finally reached Diveagar. We had dinner, watched the movie ‘Black Beard’s Ghost’ and then went to sleep.


Day 2:

We woke up knowing we had a long day in front of us. After waking up we got ready, ate breakfast and went to the beach to play. After coming all of us had a bath, ate lunch and then watched the popular movie ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’. In the evening, we went down to the beach and went on some amazing water rides. After coming back, we had a quiet dinner and then dozed off….

Day 3:

After having a good night’s sleep, we had breakfast and then went down to the beach for a stroll during which some of us built a sand castle. After coming back, we lazed around and played some cricket. As soon as we had lunch, we left for Pune. This time too we stopped at ‘Quick Bites’, had a snack and reached Pune only in the night….

Thus, our wonderful Diveagar trip ended……



My Grandfather: Reliving his Childhood

Recently, my mothers father a.k.a my grandfather visited Disneyland in Hong Kong and Universal Studios in Singapore. He had been planning the trip for a while and looked pretty excited.He went with Kesari and along with a senior citizens group.

He turned 80 recently and I admire him for going on this trip.

Personally, I LOVE amusement parks. But, when you cross horrifying experiences , stomach churning coasters and awesome stimulation, you get-HEAVEN.

When I visited Universal Studios in Singapore, my favourite rides were the Transformers 4D ride and of course, any child’s favourite ride, the Battlestar Galactica, which is a high speed, turbulent ride good enough to make anyone’s day.

Now, my grandfather might have liked the New York storm stimulation, which was pretty cool. Also, he might have liked the water rafting ride by the end of which you encounter a dinosaur and get thrown into the water. 🙂

Me, i have never been to Disney Land in Hong Kong, so I don’t know much about that place.

But, incidentally, I visited Disney Land in Paris. But, i can’t remember a lot of that place and my experiences, but I remember enough to make me feel jealous that my grandfather got to go….

HE enjoyed the rides and truly relived his childhood.


Want to visit the Universal Studios site?Visit:

Want to visit Disneyland’s site?Visit:


P.S: Oh, the envy though!! 😉


Child Prodigies

What is a child prodigy?

A child prodigy is a child who performs something amazing or extraordinary which is at a accomplished adults level.

In todays world, I find child prodigies one of the most fascinating things I know. child prodigies are spread all across the world and  also are of a wide range range of ages/

Just recently a 2 year old potty trained himself at the age of one, after reading how to!

The first ever child prodigy I knew was Sheldon Cooper, from the well known T.V show, the Big Bang Theory. He apparently finished high school when he was just 14 years old!

Child prodigies are unique, and when you meet/hear about one, respect……

Rubiks Cube

The rubiks cube is a 3D puzzle which was invented in 1974. Currently it is the worlds highest selling puzzle in which the objective is to get six squares of the same colour on each of the six sides of the cube. Recently I learned how to solve this  baffling as well as the most widely sold puzzle in the world. For those who do not know how to solve a rubiks cube, here is a site which gives you a  step by step method.

Please comment if this helped you out.  If you know of any faster method to solve this cube please link it on the website.